COLORADO VOTES 2022: Democrat Eliza Hamrick and Republican Dave Woolever face off for HD61 seat

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Eliza Hamrick, right, and Dave Woolever

AURORA | Educators Eliza Hamrick and Dave Woolever are running against each other for a seat representing House District 61, which is centered on Centennial and touches south Aurora, this fall.

The two identified public safety, education and the region’s economy as being among their top concerns this fall. Hamrick wrote about her experience as a teacher engaging in active-shooter drills and said she believed it was important the state pass “common-sense gun laws.”

She also said she would “fight to ensure that our police, firefighters, and other first responders are supported and given the resources that they need, so that our community members are cared for, safe, and valued.”

Woolever said he would increase training, staffing and resources for police officers to keep them and communities safe.

“These men and women who wear the blue put their lives on the line for each of us every day, and now, more than ever, they need our support to help with training so they can be better equipped to do their jobs to the best of their ability,” he said on his campaign website.

In his Sentinel survey, Woolever said he supported some aspects of SB20-217, like the requirement that officers use body-worn cameras, but said he did not support calls to “defund the police.” Hamrick spoke positively about the law, but said she wished it included more mental health resources.

On the topic of education, Hamrick advocated for more resources for schools and cooperation between teachers and parents in the schooling of their children, touting her “more than three decades of experience teaching the next generation honestly with age-appropriate material and without causing harm.”

Woolever advocated for raising teacher pay, increasing parent participation by making more details about school curriculum public and supporting opportunities in technical and vocational education.

He also wrote about cutting taxes and fees, and investing in the state’s CLIMBER loan fund to help small businesses, and advocated for including oil and gas alongside renewables in the state’s energy portfolio, while incentivizing electric vehicle purchases by corporations.

Hamrick said she would incentivize small business through “programs that honor the hard work and ingenuity that is woven into the fabric of our wonderful community” and “advocate for policies that value and support our workers and families.”

Meet Eliza Hamrick

Eliza Hamrick

Eliza Hamrick

Retired high school teacher Eliza Hamrick is running to serve Colorado’s new House District 61, which is centered on Centennial. The Democrat attended the University of Arizona on a cross-country and track-and-field scholarship, and taught history and government at Overland High School for more than 32 years. She is a founding member of Teachers United for Immigrant Rights. Hamrick has been married to her husband, Mike, for 33 years, and the two have two children.

Eliza Hamrick Q&A

Should the state end partisan elections to the offices of state treasurer, secretary and attorney general, making them administrative positions nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state senate?

 

These are all very important positions and I believe that Colorado voters should decide who fills each post.

 

Colorado recently enacted far-reaching reforms affecting police agencies across the state. Mandating truly independent review of police-related deaths and injuries wasn’t among the new requirements created by Senate Bill 20-217. Should every police agency be required to create some type of independent oversight mechanism?

 

It is best practice for professions to have an independent oversight mechanism to ensure that disputes are resolved using a neutral entity that hears all sides, taking into account the differences among our cities and counties and understanding that these mechanisms could look very different depending on local needs.

 

Despite many lauded changes in Obamacare, the cost of health care in Colorado and across the nation has continued to climb steadily, outpacing almost every other nation. What can the Legislature do to not just halt regular increases, but push down health care costs?

 

Incentivize preventative care, telemedicine for greater accessibility and affordability and controlling the high cost of prescription drugs through the Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

 

Many argue that the generally poor condition of Colorado roads and underfunded schools is due in large part because of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, which prevents legislators from raising taxes and caps tax revenues, returning “excesses” to residents. Why is this true, and what’s the solution, or why is this untrue, and how can Colorado better fund roads and schools?

 

The formula used in the TABOR calculation doesn’t reflect economic realities and thus serves to shrink the state’s budget and underfund our schools, roads and other essential programs. I would refer a measure to the voters asking to change the TABOR formula to something that better reflects the economic reality of our state, so that we could make better investments in transportation and education.

 

Some local city lawmakers were elected on a platform that they would lobby the state to repeal SB20-217, the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity bill. Has this legislation positively or negatively impacted policing in Colorado? Would you propose any changes?

 

SB20-217, which was supported by a variety of law enforcement agencies and criminal justice reformers, increases the transparency and accountability of policing, which is best practice. I would have added additional mental health resources.

 

Would you vote for a ban on so-called assault-style weapons? Why?

 

Common-sense gun legislation is essential to keeping all Coloradans safe from gun violence. I will support changing the age of purchase of assault-style weapons to 21.

 

Having legalized and regulated recreational marijuana, should Colorado pursue legalization of recreational psilocybin, also known as hallucinogenic mushrooms?

 

I need to study this issue further.

 

Would you support legislation imposing restrictions on abortions, or should Colorado stay the course in preventing the government from making those decisions for women and their health care providers?

 

I am pro-choice. Women, not the government, should be in control of their own private health care decisions.

 

If you could unilaterally write and impose any law you wanted, what would it be?

 

Fully funding our public schools.

 

If you could unilaterally sunset any existing Colorado law, which would it be?

 

Unfunded education mandates that take money out of Colorado classrooms.

 

Should the state seek to prevent growth in communities that cannot prove sustainable water sources?

 

I support making the Colorado Water Plan more actionable and focused on ensuring that we create a sustainable water plan which best manages Colorado’s dwindling water resources for all.

 

Colorado cannot pave its way out of highway and road congestion and the air-quality problems it creates. Should the state make a concerted effort to reduce overburdened roads and highways some other way? How?

 

Increase the accessibility and affordability of mass transit and micro transit, and use CDOT’s Congestion Mitigation Program to identify areas of high congestion and incentivize the regions to find local solutions that reduce congestion and improve air quality.

 

Do you trust the election process in Colorado? And will you accept the outcome of this election as announced?

 

I trust the election process in Colorado and will accept the outcome of this election as announced.

 

Do you believe the 2020 Presidential Election was absent of widespread fraud and fairly won by Joe Biden?

 

Joe Biden won the 2020 election fairly.

Get to know Eliza Hamrick

What’s the most Colorado thing you’ve done recently?

 

Hiking around Guanella Pass and “leaf-peeping.”

 

What is the last concert you attended?

 

Robert Plant.

 

What restaurant do you frequent most?

 

Fontana Sushi.

 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

 

The power to fly.

 

What was the last book you read?

 

The Eagles of Heart Mountain.

 

What is your least favorite household chore?

 

Doing the dishes.

 

If you had to pick one television show to watch forever, what would it be?

 

Scrubs.

 

Did you have any New Year's resolutions? What were they?

 

To go through the closets in our house and donate what we weren’t using.

 

What were you most excited to do after pandemic restrictions eased?

 

Having dinner with friends.

 

What fun fact about you would most surprise people who know you?

 

I am a high school and college All-American distance runner.

Meet Dave Woolever

Dave Woolever

Dave Woolever

Educator and U.S. Air Force veteran Dave Woolever is running to represent House District 61, 

The Republican has worked as an assistant professor with Johnson & Wales University, teaching classes on leadership, ethics and history. He earned master’s degrees in education from East Carolina University and in history from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, as well as a doctorate in education in leadership from Liberty University. Woolever and his dog, Nestor, have volunteered in the Prescription Pet Therapy Program at Children's Hospital-Colorado, which he says prompted him to become a children’s book author.

Dave Woolever Q&A

Should the state end partisan elections to the offices of state treasurer, secretary and attorney general, making them administrative positions nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state senate?

 

I do like how the citizens of Colorado have a 100% say in who gets these positions as opposed to being nominated by the governor and confirmed by the senate, especially if there is a time where one party controls those branches of government.

 

Colorado recently enacted far-reaching reforms affecting police agencies across the state. Mandating truly independent review of police-related deaths and injuries wasn’t among the new requirements created by Senate Bill 20-217. Should every police agency be required to create some type of independent oversight mechanism?

 

I think that is worthy of discussion especially if we can improve communication between police and their communities, especially if we can understand the procedures of police and how difficult their jobs are.

 

Despite many lauded changes in Obamacare, the cost of health care in Colorado and across the nation has continued to climb steadily, outpacing almost every other nation. What can the Legislature do to not just halt regular increases, but push down health care costs?

 

I think we need to look at how we can eliminate administrative costs that are passed on to the patient. We need to streamline the health care process removing obstacles that could be driving up costs. I think the effort to seek transparency in billing will also help as well.

 

Many argue that the generally poor condition of Colorado roads and underfunded schools is due in large part because of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, which prevents legislators from raising taxes and caps tax revenues, returning “excesses” to residents. Why is this true, and what’s the solution, or why is this untrue, and how can Colorado better fund roads and schools?

 

Coloradans love having the right to vote on any possible tax increases, and I will defend that right. The facts are that the state budget has grown to around $36 billion. We need to better prioritize spending and then after we have shown the people that we can do that, we can ask them to support specific projects to see if they find those projects necessary and beneficial.

 

Some local city lawmakers were elected on a platform that they would lobby the state to repeal SB20-217, the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity bill. Has this legislation positively or negatively impacted policing in Colorado? Would you propose any changes?

 

Some aspects of SB20-217 make sense, such as always wearing a body camera. However, other aspects have hampered law enforcement officials to effectively do their jobs, and this needs to be examined, such as aspects to “defund the police,” and that part of 217 should be removed. We want a safe community, and we want our law enforcement to do their jobs effectively to that end while at the same time adhering to the highest standards of conduct and defunding is counterintuitive to that goal.

 

Would you vote for a ban on so-called assault-style weapons? Why?

 

Colorado has some of the toughest gun legislation in the country. While we all want to be safe and prevent needless tragedies and mass shootings, I would need to know precise definitions and terms rather than saying “assault-style weapons,” as that could mean different things to different people. Are we talking semi-automatic, because fully automatic (what we used in the military) is illegal to purchase. So, let’s get on the same page in using correct terminology so we can have a meaningful discussion moving forward.

 

Having legalized and regulated recreational marijuana, should Colorado pursue legalization of recreational psilocybin, also known as hallucinogenic mushrooms?

 

I think we need more research to be conducted showing no long-term negative effects before we legalize recreational psilocybin.

 

Would you support legislation imposing restrictions on abortions, or should Colorado stay the course in preventing the government from making those decisions for women and their health care providers?

 

Coloradans have had numerous opportunities to vote on various abortion issues over the past several years. They have spoken; the legislature should respect the will of the voters.

 

If you could unilaterally write and impose any law you wanted, what would it be?

 

I care about education a lot. I’d really like to see Colorado follow Arizona in allowing the funding to follow the kids for school choice. I’m convinced that empowering more schools like Liberty Common in Fort Collins will result in both a better education for our kids and better pay for our teachers, achieving the latter through a reduction in administrative costs.

 

If you could unilaterally sunset any existing Colorado law, which would it be?

 

I’d sunset the bill that decriminalized possession of fentanyl. We have experienced far too many unnecessary, tragic deaths due to fentanyl use, and that it is a direct result of that law. We need to criminalize possession so that people understand how deadly this drug is. Fentanyl is a poison, and we should have zero tolerance for it on our streets. We also need to engage in education awareness regarding its lethal consequences especially for the 18-45 age bracket, which has experienced too many deaths using fentanyl.

 

Should the state seek to prevent growth in communities that cannot prove sustainable water sources?

 

We have to be mindful of our water supply, and we need to address water scarcity, water conservation and our state’s water resources through bipartisan, innovative solutions. We need to invest in more water storage projects to ensure that we aren’t drying up agriculture as more and more people move here. This has been a staple of my campaign, and I will continue to work to draw attention to this issue from citizens and leaders in both parties.

 

Colorado cannot pave its way out of highway and road congestion and the air-quality problems it creates. Should the state make a concerted effort to reduce overburdened roads and highways some other way? How?

 

At this point, much like discussing water conservation, everything has to be on the table, examining innovative and creative solutions. We need to work together in a collaborative, bipartisan effort to reduce overburdened roads and highways. As we know, we’ve experienced a tremendous increase in the population of the state without coming anywhere near increasing lane miles. While we can’t pave enough for everyone to use the road at 8 a.m., we certainly should be increasing our lane mile capacity commensurate with population growth.

 

Do you trust the election process in Colorado? And will you accept the outcome of this election as announced?

 

I do trust the election process in Colorado. I have no problem with individuals who want elections to be transparent, and this is why I support the audit process. We could enhance our election process by requiring a valid photo ID to register to vote in Colorado. If we do that, make ballot harvesting illegal and clean up our voter rolls, we’d probably have the best system in the country. We must all be vigilant: Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and all citizens to protect our democracy and our republic, and that begins by always keeping a watchful eye on the elections and always demanding a transparent election process and looking to improve the process. That said, I will accept the outcome of this election. Should it fall with the margin where an automatic recount is triggered, I will support that as well.

 

Do you believe the 2020 Presidential Election was absent of widespread fraud and fairly won by Joe Biden?

 

I believe Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential Election and I supported the audit process as well to ensure and instill trust to the public in our election process.

Get to know Dave Woolever

What’s the most Colorado thing you’ve done recently?

 

Went to a park with my dog while driving my Jeep Wrangler with the top removed — very Colorado!

 

What is the last concert you attended?

 

Fleetwood Mac or Kenny Chesney — it’s been a while, but it was one of those!

 

What restaurant do you frequent most?

 

Lazy Dog out by Southlands Mall.

 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

 

The ability to read at a super-fast level! And to fly. So I guess I want two superpowers!

 

What was the last book you read?

 

A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado.

 

What is your least favorite household chore?

 

Just one? All of them! Probably cleaning windows.

 

If you had to pick one television show to watch forever, what would it be?

 

I do like Yellowstone and the spin-off 1883. So that could work. I also like the Ken

Burns documentary series The West. I could watch that quite a few times forever!

 

Did you have any New Year's resolutions? What were they?

 

I really did not make any resolutions this year. I know that sounds strange, so my

October resolution is to make a New Year’s Resolution this year!

 

What were you most excited to do after pandemic restrictions eased?

 

Just be able to see people out and about to be honest. To be able to see people enjoying themselves with their families and getting back to normal, that is what I was most happy to see!

 

What fun fact about you would most surprise people who know you?

 

That I used to be a white-water raft guide back in West Virginia and I was a ski instructor for two years up at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

 

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